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Stroke Center

At the first sign of stroke, you need experts who can promptly diagnose and treat. The experienced neurologists at Mercy Downtown and Mercy Southwest provide coordinated response and specialized stroke services 24 hours a day.


Stroke Center

Our Primary Stroke Centers at Mercy Hospital Downtown and Mercy Hospital Southwest are certified by The Joint Commission and focus on improving long-term outcomes for stroke patients and providing community awareness and education.

What is a Stroke

A stroke is the result of sudden loss of blood flow to the brain due to blood vessel blockage or clot burst. Loss of blood flow deprives the brain of oxygen and glucose (sugar), and causes rapid buildup of waste products that injure or kill brain cells. When brain cells are injured or die, the bodily functions they control such as speech or use of limbs are impaired or lost. Stroke can also affect your memory, ability to understand and emotions.

Signs and symptoms

Watch for these signs and symptoms if you think you or someone else may be having a stroke:

  • Trouble with speaking and understanding
  • Paralysis or numbness of the face, arm, or leg
  • Trouble with seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden, severe headache

When a patient shows signs of a possible stroke, a Stroke Alert is called, quickly putting the wheels in motion to assemble a specialized team, consult a neurologist, and perform a CT scan to diagnose the type of stroke. Depending on the type of stroke, patients may receive medication to quickly dissolve the clot and restore blood flow to the brain.


F.A.S.T. stands for:

FACE: Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person's smile uneven?

ARMS: Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

SPEECH: Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?

TIME: Time to call 911 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Types of Stroke

There are three types of stroke:

  • Ischemic strokes are the most common type. They're caused when blood vessels leading to the brain become blocked, preventing oxygen from reaching the brain.
  • Transient ischemic attacks(TIAs) are indicators of a high risk for stroke. In a TIA, the blood clot occurs for a short time and resolves itself. Although TIAs are temporary, they're strong indicators of a possible major stroke.
  • Hemorrhagic strokes occur when blood vessels in or around the brain break.

High performing hospital for heart attack

Mercy Hospitals Bakersfield – High Performing for treatment of Stroke

From U.S. News & World Report: A hospital's stroke score is based on multiple data categories, including patient survival, volume, discharging to home and more. Over 6,000 hospitals were evaluated and eligible hospitals received one of three ratings -- high performing (1,053 hospitals), average (915 hospitals) or below average (1,156 hospitals) -- with the balance either not offering the service or performing too few of the procedures to be rated. Hospitals that earned a high performing rating were significantly better than the national average.

How Do I Minimize My Risk for Stroke?

Many risk factors can be controlled or treated to reduce your chance of having a stroke:

  • High blood pressure – limit salt intake, exercise regularly, and take medications as prescribed
  • Tobacco use and smoking – your doctor can offer programs to help you quit
  • Alcohol use – do not have more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men
  • Diabetes – control your blood sugar through proper diet, exercise and medication
  • High cholesterol – eat plenty of fruits and vegetables; reduce intake of red meat, dairy products and eggs; exercise; and take medications as prescribed
  • Excessive weight and physical inactivity – try to get 30 minutes of physical activity each day
If you are concerned about your risk of stroke talk to your doctor.  

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Safety Alert: iPhone 12 May Affect Pacemakers and Defibrillators

Apple iPhone 12 models and MagSafe Accessories may cause interference with some medical devices including pacemakers and defibrillators when not kept at a safe distance. Apple MagSafe accessories are wireless magnetic charging systems, including wireless chargers that attach magnetically to iPhone devices, cases with built-in components, wallets with built-in components, and leather sleeves with built-in components.

Learn more:

Exceptional Stroke Care at Mercy

As a Joint Commission certified primary stroke center:

  • Our stroke team receives detailed information about a patient's condition from Emergency Medical Services allowing us to be ready the moment our patients pass through the emergency room doors.
  • Our team has rapid access to intravenous infusion of Activase®, the only FDA-approved medication for stroke.
  • Our stroke team follows the American Stroke Association's Get with the Guidelines Patient Program, improving stroke care by promoting consistent adherence to the latest scientific treatment guidelines.
If you need a doctor, please call (877) 427-3817 or visit Find A Doctor